Responding to Abuse & Pastoral Malpractice
In the last year a number of high-profile cases have revealed that pastoral malpractice and abusive leadership is a serious problem in some evangelical churches, including Independent churches. Over the past nine months the FIEC Trust Board has therefore been considering how to help churches when issues of abuse and pastoral malpractice are raised in affiliated churches. The Board adopted a Statement to help guide churches and the FIEC Staff at its meeting on Tuesday 28 January, which it is now in a position to publish.
At the FIEC AGM in November (which took place during the Leader’s Conference in Torquay) I mentioned that the Board was considering the issue of pastoral malpractice, particularly as it relates to FIEC churches and FIEC church leaders.
As a result of this work over several months, and following discussions with FIEC staff and advice from those working in the field of Safeguarding, the Trust Board has drawn up a Statement on Abuse and Pastoral Malpractice.
The Statement recognises that whilst the FIEC is a voluntary association of independent churches, which is committed – In both principle and practice – to the autonomy of the local church, pastoral malpractice and abuse (in all its forms) is wrong before God and damaging to its victims. Therefore, we commit ourselves to promoting best practice across our churches and amongst our leaders, caring for those who have experienced pastoral malpractice, and taking appropriate action in regard to affiliated churches and accredited pastors where necessary.
As a means of promoting this best practice, the FIEC Local Conferences during 2020 include consideration of the issue of pastoral malpractice and spiritual abuse. Please join with us in praying that these day conferences will be a helpful time for all concerned, and that God will use them to help protect our churches from abuse and malpractice.
The Statement we have agreed will be displayed on our website and a copy sent to every FIEC church and every member of the FIEC Pastors’ Network. I commend it to you.
As well as praying for the Local Conferences, please will you also join with us in praying (in the words of the apostle Paul) that every FIEC Pastor and church leader would watch their life and doctrine closely (see 1 Timothy 4:16), and that we would follow the example of the Lord Jesus who did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (see Mark 10:45).
Chair of the FIEC Trust Board